Employment Background Check FAQs

You've Got Questions. We've Got Answers!

We know you're busy. So we've created a repository filled with answers to some of the most common background check questions—along with links for deeper reading, should you want to dive in.

We regularly add questions/answers to this page, so consider bookmarking it. Got a question that we haven't addressed? Ask away!


Criminal Background Check FAQs

At its simplest, a criminal history check (also referred to as a criminal background check) is the foundational element of a pre-employment screening program. Understanding a candidate's past—including criminal history—is an essential input to the hiring process.


A thorough background check, including a criminal history check, is an important contributor to post-offer decision making. (It's also worth noting that in many states and localities, the criminal history check cannot be performed unless a conditional offer of employment has been made.) KEEP READING.

The most common background check consists of criminal history searches in counties where a candidate has lived in the past 7 years. These county searches are often supplemented with a nationwide criminal history database search, which provides a quick, affordable method to search for criminal conviction information that may have occurred in jurisdictions outside the candidate's address history.


NOTE: Any criminal convictions located in the nationwide database with identifiers that closely match the candidate's information will prompt the addition of "primary source" county searches to the background check order. This is necessary for validation purposes (we're not just needlessly adding additional costs).


The scope of a criminal background check can be adjusted based on the client's requirements, including the expansion of the address history from 7 to 10 years; the inclusion of address history for locations where a candidate has worked or attended school; and the addition of searches, such as federal criminal, sex offender database, and/or sanction searches. KEEP READING.

Based on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and to the extent permitted by applicable state/local laws (as well as client-specific requirements), pending cases can be included in a background check report. KEEP READING.

Based on the FCRA, arrests can be included in a background check report where permitted by state rules. Client customizations are possible, as long as the client requirements are not diametrically opposed to the FCRA and/or relevant jurisdictional limitations on scope or restrictions on reporting arrest records. If FCRA and state requirements are met, and the client has requested they be reported, arrests and pending cases are classified as "reportable non-convictions." KEEP READING.

The default scope for a criminal history search is 7 years. Extended scope searches (10-year, full criminal history) can be supported at an additional cost to the client, to the extent permitted by applicable law. KEEP READING.

Yes. It's important to understand the different types: county, state, federal, nationwide. KEEP READING.

Employment Drug Testing FAQs

From a terminology standpoint, a drug "panel" is simply a collection of drugs—or the family of drugs—that you want to test for on any given drug screen. Standard panels exist, and two of the most common are the standard 5-panel urine drug test and 10-panel urine drug test. But those terms can be misleading in the same way as saying two of the most common pizza orders are two-topping pizzas and three-topping pizzas. You might make assumptions about what those toppings are, but the combinations can vary widely. KEEP READING.

An instant drug test is exactly as its name implies—you get the results right away, at the point where it's collected, usually within a few minutes. It's what we call an immunoassay screening; its purpose is to detect any presence of that category of drugs in the specimen. The result is either negative (it's not present) or non-negative (it is present). An instant drug test can't officially give a "positive" result. KEEP READING.

For a lab-based test, the collected specimen (urine, hair, oral fluid) is sent to a laboratory for more rigorous testing. As such, it takes longer to get the results (2-3 days, on average). A lab-based test can screen for any drug. Before testing, your organization would have already determined what you want the drug panel to be. KEEP READING.

Companies will need to decide what makes the most sense for their employee population (it could include a "combo" approach). Three areas to consider: look-back periods, ease of collection and cheating, and number of collection sites that your vendor is connected with. KEEP READING.

MVR Background Check FAQs

Simply put, an MVR background check is a report of a person's driving history. It includes information, such as license expiration, status, license class, endorsements, restrictions, traffic violations, accidents, vehicular crimes, suspensions—even unpaid parking tickets and, in some states, unpaid child support.


The purpose of an MVR report is straightforward: to provide the employer with insight regarding whether the applicant/employee can be considered a safe driver. KEEP READING.

This varies by state. Most states fall within a 3- to 7-year lookback period (three years is the most common). There's no national database for searching drivers' records—we obtain MVR reports through a state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or its equivalent agency (in Massachusetts, for example, it's called the Registry of Motor Vehicles or RMV). KEEP READING.

Yes. As such, employers must make sure they comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including disclosure and authorization requirements and adverse action procedures. KEEP READING.

Social Media Background Check FAQs

The short answer: Yes, BUT it has to be done correctly. If you're tasked with making hiring decisions and you decide to look at an applicant's social media activity on your own, you're opening yourself up to potential problems (such as discrimination lawsuits). Why?


Well, the main issue with a "do it yourself" approach is that you will likely stumble upon protected class information. If you're a hiring manager and you come across this information during a social media search, you can't "unsee" what you've come across, so this could put you in legal hot water.


This is why using a third-party screening company that filters out protected class information from screening reports makes sense to conduct background checks, criminal record checks, and social media checks. Because a compliant social media screen is legal. KEEP READING.

A compliant social media screening service will consider four categories of content:

  • Racist or intolerant
  • Sexually explicit
  • Potentially illegal
  • Potentially violent

When Presenting results, Good Egg always redacts protected class information per EEOC guidelines.KEEP READING.

It's not possible for a human being, which is why our social media screening solution combines the best of AI (artificial intelligence) with human oversight.


The AI does the heavy lifting by scouring everything that's out there. But then we always have quality assurance in the form of a person who monitors the process (for example, making sure the focus is on the correct person—the "right" John Smith) and reviews the results before presenting them to our customers. The QA person reviews the results to make sure everything the customer has asked us to specifically look for is included and falls within the legal definitions—and that the results are presented in a legal and ethical way. In addition to being compliant, legal, and ethical, our process is also amazingly quick, thanks to our unrivaled AI. KEEP READING.

We can only speak for ourselves: Good Egg’s compliant social media screening has protocols in place to ensure that the correct person is being reviewed, just as we do for traditional background screenings and criminal background checks. KEEP READING.

Education & Employment Verification FAQs

Short answer: yes. People do lie on their resumes, and conducting basic education and employment verifications is an easy way to weed out these folks. Not to mention you'll always want to verify any industry related licenses. KEEP READING.

NO! The "social security number trace" (sometimes referred to as "SSN trace") is a research tool that we use at Good Egg to identify addresses, names (i.e., aliases, aka's), and dates of birth associated with a social security number. Various algorithms are employed to determine the output of the SSN trace, including but not limited to combinations containing full, partial, and "wild-card" database searches of first name, last name, DOB, and SSN.


The outcome of the SSN trace will indicate an approximate SSN issue date and location where the number was issued. The SSN trace may also indicate if the SSN appears on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).


All that said, the SSN trace is not a social security number verification. The search does not confirm that the social security number is associated to the candidate, nor does it confirm that the candidate is eligible to work in the United States.


The only authorized pre-employment method to confirm that a social security number is valid and belongs to a candidate is by requesting consent-based social security verification (CBSV) from the Social Security Administration. KEEP READING.

General Background Check FAQs

There are many reasons for delays—and most are beyond a background check vendor's control. Let's look at some of the most common reasons. KEEP READING.

When you integrate your ATS with your background check vendor, you'll spend less time toggling between two separate systems, and you'll have the luxury of managing background screening activities from the comfort of your ATS dashboard. KEEP READING.

The exact legal timeframe for when this information must be excluded from a professional background check report varies depending on where the candidate will be working - and in some cases - their financial compensation. KEEP READING.

FCRA stands for Fair Credit Reporting Act. Enacted in 1970, this federal legislation was initially designed to protect consumers who needed to correct inaccuracies on their credit reports. In the mid-90s, the scope expanded to include other types of consumer reports, such as background checks.


Your background checks MUST be FCRA compliant or else you'll run afoul of federal law, which can be equal parts problematic and costly (and this is especially true when it comes to the adverse action process). But here's the thing: you can't just worry about federal law. State and local jurisdictions also have legislation governing consumer reports, such as background checks. So whenever a background check is conducted, you need to consider compliance from three varying jurisdictional levels: federal, state, and local. KEEP READING.

Good Egg FAQs

We've invested in the best systems, servers, and security—and we're constantly monitoring all three. That's the short, high-level answer. Here's more in-depth, technical information. KEEP READING.

When it comes to sensitive information, like protected class information, the answer is simple: we redact that info before it ever reaches our customers' hands. KEEP READING.

We comply with all regulations and laws pertaining to employment and screening, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (To name just a couple of the more well-known acronyms.) That said, we don't want to oversimplify this answer because the reality is there are many nuances to federal, state, and local laws. KEEP READING.

Yes. We're accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), which has a rigorous accreditation process. Read more about it here.

Stellar customer service starts with one simple question: "If we were the customer, what would we expect from the customer success team?" And then we act accordingly. It's a great philosophy for life, and a great philosophy for customer service. At Good Egg, we employ people who embrace this philosophy. Members of our customer success team have genuine expertise in the rules, regulations, and nuances of screenings, but they’re also a group of genuinely nice people who want you to walk away satisfied, not disgruntled. KEEP READING.

We strive to be! And our customers certainly think so. Check out these customer reviews and these candidate reviews.